Written evidence from RoadPeace (CMI 34)|
1. RoadPeace, the national charity for road crash
victims, is grateful for the opportunity to highlight the need
to consider the wider social cost of our motor insurance system
and its implications on the price we pay with regard to our health
2. This inquiry to date has been focused on the
cost of motor insurance premium, with consideration of the impact
on the incidence of uninsured driving. While much has been made
of the recent rises in the cost of motor insurance premiums, it
is too early to tell the effect of the recently introduced streamlined
procedures for road traffic civil claims.
3. This will encourage them to take up the more
physically active and less polluting mode of cycling, assuming
they are not intimidated by the volume and speed of motor vehicles.
4. RoadPeace is aware that when the problem of
uninsured driving was reviewed several years ago by Professor
Greenaway, he was not allowed to consider the system whereby third
party coverage could be collected via the fuel levy. RoadPeace
is also aware that the cost of uninsured drivers on motor insurance
premiums has been reported to be £30 for many years, despite
much effort in recent years to reduce uninsured driving.
5. A wider consideration of the social costs
of our motor insurance system must include the inherent bias against
vulnerable road users. Britain puts the burden of proof in road
collisions on the injured, including when it is a pedestrian or
cyclists. No consideration or allowance is given for the fact
- (a) they will be the injured party and thus
less able to provide evidence and
- (b) they are least likely to be represented
by any insurance company.
6. In the majority of countries around the world,
the burden of proof is reversed in collisions involving pedestrians
and cyclists. Compensation is assumed owed to the pedestrian or
cyclist casualty, unless it can be proven that they contributed
to the collision. . RoadPeace refers to this system as "Stricter
liability". How the countries interpret contribution varies
widely, even within Western Europe, but they all start with a
different assumption than does Britain.
7. Stricter liability does not mean that irresponsible
pedestrians or cyclists will be compensate. RoadPeace does support
the system introduced in France and the Netherlands where children,
elderly, and those disabled, do qualify for compensation, regardless
of their actions.
8. RoadPeace has previously argued, most recently
in an article in London Cyclist and in a presentation at RoSPA's
2010 National Road Safety Conference, that without a system where
a greater duty of care is placed on motor vehicle drivers, the
long awaited cycling revolution is unlikely to occur. Getting
people out of cars and onto bikes is critical for our efforts
to tackle what David King described as the twin crises, obesity
and climate change. The Sustainable Development Commission had
also supported "stricter liability" and we believe that
it is basic to any sustainable transport strategy.
9. A few years back, it was reported that adopting
such a system would add £50 to every policy but this estimate
was never substantiated. RoadPeace has also tried to find evidence
of its introduction on road casualties but this has proven difficult
as it was introduced many years ago in some countries such as
Germany or at the same time as other measures in other countries,
10. This enquiry was short and its scope was
subsequently widened. RoadPeace requests that consideration be
given to undertaking a separate enquiry into stricter liability.
If this is not possible, then separate oral evidence sessions
within this enquiry should be dedicated to stricter liability.
More information on stricter liability systems can be provided
by RoadPeace in 2011.